Monday, May 25, 2009
I'm going with option 5 instead and asking if anyone has an old (yet functional) blackberry that they'd like to send or sell me. Bonus points if the phone used to have AT&T as the carrier (cuz then we don't have to get the carrier to "unlock" the phone). You generosity is appreciated!
And yes, I understand this is the most blatantly off-topic post I've written ;)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I just purchased a new laptop yesterday. It came down to the Samsung Portege A605 and the Lenovo Thinkpad X200. In the end, I went with the Lenovo. I've always hated Dell (due to past experiences) and Sony was way overpriced. Lenovo was a bit expensive too but I've had a great experience with them after using a T61 issued by my company for the past 19 months. The laptop's tiny, lightweight, very fast, and has superb battery life. There's no touchpad but I plan on using a mini travel mouse. Also, I need to get an external dvd/cd drive but that's okay cuz I never use the darn thing anyway. The Samsung looked hot and was even smaller and lighter but durability concerns scared me away (along with the slower processor) despite its much cheaper price tag.
For Memorial Day weekend, I really wanted to go to Montreal... I thought I'd be willing to go alone but the airfare only came down in price today! AFTER I had already decided to go home to NY and see some old friends instead (not many CBS people this trip). No sweat though.
There are still 26 (or maybe 27) work days left before I'm free... the countdown continues.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Oh, and a tidbit of sad news. It looks like I won't be getting a merit scholarship. My hopes weren't up but still, I have the best applicant blog of the year (supposedly)! Surely that's worth at least a 3k scholarship right? I'm not asking for much when the tuition's already 47k per year! Scholarships haven't officially stopped being released yet but it's winding down for sure and it's looking very bleak now. Aye.
I'm moving my resignation date from July 3 to July 1. Slowly getting there. It stinks though because I'm supposed to be slacking more (if that's possible) yet I'm actually working harder now. I'm on a new project and the people are nice so I don't want to let them down. Arrgh. Too bad they don't stink like my current managers, in which case I wouldn't mind letting them down just a little :P
The reason I'm leaving on July 1 is because I'm strongly considering (80% likely) going with classmates on the CBS Pre-MBA World Tour to Hong Kong and Macau which starts on July 1. I would then be a day late but it'd still be fun. It's a shoe-in because I'm spending the next two weeks of July in Beijing (and surrounding cities) with my parents so I might as well leave a few days early and see two huge metropolises that are nearby. I'm 75% likely to join the World Tour again immediately afterwards for the Russia leg. That means I'll be gone all of July (literally). The cool thing is that one of my CBS roomies next year is helping lead the Russia leg which lasts a week. It'll be a good bonding experience and I'll meet some new peeps. Plus, I probably wouldn't see Russia otherwise.
The other great news is that I've finalized my roommates for next year! They're both CBS classmates and we've been talking about it for a while now... but now it's pretty certain. It's one guy and one girl and we actually complement each other very well. Our personalities are a bit different (in a good way) but we're all clean and responsible and fun. They're a couple of my fav people in the class and I'm not just saying that- this I knew before any roomie talk occured. We don't have a place lined up yet as it's far too early for the Manhattan real estate market but I'm very optimistic. We plan on living right in Morningside Heights within walking distance of campus. Sweet!
Lastly, I'm 85% (I love assigning probabilistic values don't I?) going to Western Europe for the first time in my life later this month for 8 or 9 days. It's embarassing that I haven't been yet and I'm already in my mid-20's! I can't wait any longer and it doesn't look like I'll have much more time this summer so I might as well do it while still employed since I still have a few vacation days left. I'm thinking in 8 or 9 days I can only see 2 or 3 cities max. I definitely want to go to London (for 4 days maybe) and Amsterdam (for 2 days)... that means I still have 2 or 3 days for another city. Any suggestions for this rookie? I feel like Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona should be done together at some other time and I feel like the various Italian cities should be done on their own too (rather than squeezing them all into one short trip). I'm intrigued by Stockholm and Prague and Berlin too. Darkhorses (but not really) are Antwerp and Brussels. But I feel like the obvious choice is Paris due to proximity to London and Amsterdam. My one concern is that it's supposed to be such a magically romantic city that I don't want to ruin my first time by going alone as a backpacker. Much rather go there for my future honeymoon. I've finally put up a new poll on the right side of the blog so please let me know which city should be my 3rd destination. I'd appreciate it! Oh, and there's a chance I get to meet up with one old high school friend and one CBS classmate but both are very tentative. Sooo if you want to meet up in Europe in one of my cities from May 30 to June 7, let me know!
So I guess my immediate future looks like this...
May 30-June 7: Psuedo-backpacking in London, Amsterdam, and ?
July 1: Last day of work!
July 2-7: CBS World Tour in Hong Kong & Macau
July 8-23: Beijing and random Chinese cities with parents
July 24-31: CBS World Tour in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg)
Aug. 1-6: Move to Morningside Heights!
P.S. I also discovered a new ab workout which I am very optimistic about :)
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Of most interest is probably CBS’ Open House II on April 17-18. I already posted about the first Open House (which I loved) and had some reservations about taking a 4+ hour bus ride from DC to NY for more of the same ole same ole. However, rumors were flying about the Bloomingdale’s reception (CEO is an alum) and potential goody bags. The choice was easy after hearing that! I was originally going to Australia for vacation but postponed my trip by a week for the Open House… I know that sounds like an insane decision to some but it was an easy one for me.
I am incredibly happy I went. It was a blast. It was a lot more relaxed and fun the second time. Not that the first time was stuffy or anything (because it wasn’t), but the second time seemed so much easier and familiar. There were tons of familiar faces which was good! Acquaintances became friends… and friends became lovers (j/k about the second one). Some of the panels were different but CBS did a great job of trying to mix it up a bit. Highlights included a great welcome speech by the CEO of Coach as well as some great informal (aka student-organized) post-event happy hours. Sadly, the financial crisis made an appearance and no goody bags were given out at the Bloomies reception. This was a disappointment to most admits as news of the goody bags (received by previous incoming classes) had circulated pretty well. Can’t complain too much though. BTW, I hope the student happy hours are even half as good as the ones that have been informally organized by my future classmates. The thing about living in DC (well, one of the many things I guess) is that I can’t attend most of the events in NY. That really eats me up because that’s all I really want to do these days is go out with my classmates. NY already had another cocktail hour a week ago and on May 15, sixty (yes, 60) are doing a CBS-alum-owned steakhouse & bar hopping. Jealousy.
Also interesting is that CBS and Stern planned their open house schedules together. CBS started Friday morning and ended at Saturday 3pm. Stern started on Saturday 3pm and went until Sunday evening. Nice teamwork, guys!
The day after Open House, I took a 23 hour flight (and that’s direct too!) to Australia. I left NY on Sunday evening and arrived in Oz on Tuesday morning! Crikey. It was an amazing time though. The first 5 days I actually flew again (ugh) to New Zealand’s South Island and did a quick tour of the major spots (Christchurch, Queenstown, etc.). Queenstown in particular is suh-weet though most of it was a little too scenic if you know what I mean (read: boring). The week I was actually in Sydney was the exact opposite. I spent 2 days doing the tourist stuff like Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, Darling Harbour, Chinatown, etc. I even re-visited my old university where I studied abroad, University of New South Wales, and my old apartment/neighborhood, Bondi Beach. The rest of the time I partied my face off. On 2 of the nights I went out with 2 friends who I knew from my study abroad days (5 years ago! thank goodness for facebook). The other nights I was on my own but I was determined to meet people. Living in a hostel made it easy especially if it’s a great one like YHA. I met tons of backpackers and had a particularly fun 2 nights in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. It used to be a blue-collar area but now it’s becoming indie, alternative, and cool. Downtown Sydney was also fun and even tried Oxford Street (no jokes from those in the know please).
The best part of it was that I felt so independent. It’s an empowering feeling to know that you can go somewhere by yourself and make friends spontaneously and have ridiculous fun for a week straight. Backpackers are my new favorite people! Sorry, hipsters. As one of the few people left on this continent who has not visited Western Europe, I’m heavily considering doing a mini tour for 3 weeks this summer on my own if I can’t find anyone else. They have to be backpacker-friendly places though- preliminary agenda to include London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin… ? Or maybe I should actually do some research first.
Also, if you can see the graphic on the right side of the page, then you know I’ve won Clear Admit’s Best of Blogging award for the best applicant blog of the season. I actually found out when I got a text message from a future classmate while I was at a punk dive bar with backpackers in Newtown! It’s a bit crazy to think that my blog was originally spawned as a way to keep me focused (a bit too focused some would say) on my goal. I know that the graphics suck and that my posts are too long but I’m really happy if this has helped some people in any way. I try not to mention specific consulting companies in my posts (don’t want to seem like an advertising tool) but I really do appreciate Clear Admit’s generosity.
That said, this blog has run its course and will likely be fazed out in the coming weeks. I’ll still keep it online but updates will eventually trickle into nothingness. Not sure if I’m up for posting a student blog next year yet (due to the time constraints) but in the meantime, feel free to send any and all questions before I become defunct. Maybe I can do a “mailbag” post soon!
Friday, April 3, 2009
It started at 7 and the turn-out was good. Considering there are around 35 local admits (an alarmingly large number at first glance but then you gotta consider that DC probably contends for the second largest applicant region next to NY), we had a turnout in the low 20s which seemed pretty good. I got there early and met everyone except for 2 chicas. I had already met half of the people previously so there was the comfort factor, but the newbies were all very cool. Fun crowd.
The drinks/ordering was terrible since the waiter put up a real fight to do separate tabs (understandably so) when the bar's management said that it wouldn't be a problem. Most people paid in cash anyway. People started clearing out around 10 and by 11, the five or six of us who were left decided to go to a club which was okay. On any other night I probably would've liked it a lot (though I've historically hated clubs but not so much since I learned to "dance") but I had work the next morning and hadn't really expected a clubbing night. Highlight (or lowlight) of the night was probably getting hit on by a so-called senior cougar (not just a cougar, but a senior cougar) who immediately slipped and fell on the floor after making her advance. I wound up taking a taxi home around 1:30.
All in all, good times. Funny enough, there's about 5 or 6 other admits from my company in DC! Granted, my company is humongous (can we say oversaturated?) but still. I guess CBS wants one of us in each cluster hehe. The second Open House is in 2 weeks but I'll be back in NY this weekend to see family primarily.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Since it's tax season, I've been dealing with a ton of personal finances recently and it's been giving me quite a headache. I'm really hoping CBS steps up and gives me even the smallest of merit-based scholarships. They don't even announce them until May and I'm sure my Early Decision status doesn't make me the highest probability recipient for an award but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Every little bit helps.
On the career front, I'm starting to veer away from Trading again. I think I want it for the wrong reasons which is materialistic in nature. I'm heavily considering real estate again. It remains (along with luxury retail) one of the few areas that interest me on an innate level. If I keep coming back to it, then it must have some legs right? Then the entrepreneurial bar idea can still be in my long-term vision. What would I do in real estate though? Development? That would be great but not likely. Analyst for a REIT or real estate focused fund? Sure, that sounds good. Geez, suggestions welcome!
Lastly, let's send out some good vibes to all our friends on the waitlist. I'm sure they'd really appreciate some.
Monday, March 9, 2009
About time I posted Day 2 of CBS’ February Open House for Admits huh? But before we get to that, let’s have a big round of applause for Samantha as the only other person (aside from Maxwriter) to get an admit from Columbia. Kudos indeed! Now she has the tough decision of choosing between Kellogg, CBS, and Tuck… I’ll try not to sway her too much with this post ;)
9:00-9:45 am – Registration and Breakfast. I intentionally arrived late at around 9:30 because I wanted to sleep in a little extra. I didn’t bring the schedule with me and merely assumed the breakfast would be in Uris again but I was wrong. I arrived in Warren (a nicer, newer shared building with the Law School) and most people were already there. I met a few familiar faces and then we were ushered into our respective panels. I got some orange juice but didn’t get a chance to eat anything.
10:00-12:15 pm – Panels on Chazen Institute’s “Globalize your MBA”, Financial Aid, and Housing/Student Life. We were then assigned to 2 of 3 panels. I got the Housing/Student Life one first. It was the same ole info that I knew before. Then I had the Chazen Institute panel which is about international/study abroad experiences. CBS really has a plethora of them. I can’t even begin to think about them though. My energy level is really down and I don’t recognize a lot of the people there. I wasn’t assigned to the Financial Aid panel which seems like a bad omen. I am praying that I get something!
12:30-1:30 pm – Affinity Group Lunches. We then had boxed lunches (decent) with current students. We were broken up by interest which mostly meant ethnic/racial background. Instead of choosing one of those, I chose the only other option which was Student Life. Coincidentally the student we sat with was into Sales & Trading and I got some good info from him. Despite all the terrible recruiting news coming out on message boards and forums, it appears that everyone who has wanted a S&T internship has been able to find one. I’ve thus far been very impressed by Columbia’s placements. I met a couple cool admits too including the product manager for the video game, Guitar Hero.
1:45-2:30 pm – Career Management Panels. We all walked back to Uris and heard from the career management office. Details are fuzzy (I knew I should’ve posted this a week ago).
3:00-5:00 pm – Reception at Lincoln Center Penthouse. The final official event was drinks and finger food at Lincoln Center. Nice touch. The admissions offices gave everyone subway passes to commute there which felt like a cutesy little field trip. I got my energy back up during the reception, meeting a few new people and a bunch of the people I had met on Friday or even in the weeks leading up to the weekend. It was a lot of fun. I realize that I need to definitely be standing and doing active things instead of sitting in lectures/panels if I want to stay engaged/awake. Not a good sign for classes! The group of admits from DC continues to grow (we have identified at least 15+ now) and my buddy and I are going to start organizing happy hours. Highlight of the reception is at 5:30 pm when I was about to leave. I said a casual “thank you and goodbye” to one of the senior admissions officers and he/she said “I hope you had a good time. Write about it in your blog.” Of course I was flabbergasted. He/she revealed that I was found via the ClearAdmit blog links. Apparently they (including Linda) liked my post about the December Reception too! Funny stuff. Embarrassing stuff too. I don’t know if they found out about the blog before or after I was accepted but it doesn’t matter now hopefully!
A lot of admits exchanged numbers and then went their separate ways. Several of us (around 15) wound up a couple blocks away at the rooftop bar of a fancy hotel. Then I went with two others to a little get-together “pre-game” for the Pre-MBA World Tour which was fun. At around 10:00 pm, a bunch of us (maybe 15) met up at a pub downtown to cap off the night. I didn’t leave until the early AM hours.
All in all, twas great fun! But also incredibly exhausting after only 2 days. I can only imagine what Orientation week will be like. There’s another open house on April 17-18 that I’ll definitely be attending. Rumor has it that there is a Bloomingdale’s reception with goody bags! At least that’s historically been the tradition. I was going to Sydney that weekend but have since altered my trip to depart one day after the Open House. Yup, it’s that important :P I'm completely serious too.
In sadder news, I missed a recent CBS Alumni Club of DC happy hour here this past week due to my intramural basketball team competing in the finals. Don’t worry, we won. I’ll also be in San Francisco this weekend for the first time in my life so send me good/fun vibes!!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
While Open House doesn’t begin until Friday morning, there were several (6 or 7) happy hours sponsored by various student clubs on Thursday night as well as a couple on Wednesday night I believe. I took the bus up to NY on Thursday and decided to grab dinner with an old friend instead at the restaurant, Rice (really like that place). I figured there’d be enough boozing in the coming days and wanted to be fresh. This is the first time that I turned down a CBS event but no biggie.
On Friday morning I had to wake up at 7:40 to catch an 8:04 train to Penn Station from my parents’ home on Long Island. I got to Columbia at almost 9 am, fashionably late for the first event.
8:30-9:15 am: Registration and Welcome Breakfast. All the admitted students (roughly 160-200) gathered in Uris Deli to mingle. I was late and by the time I got there, Linda (Dean of Admissions) was already on the podium giving a welcome speech. She talked about some of the interesting people in our class (including a Miss New York) but I didn’t hear all of it since she was already speaking as I walked in. I don't believe she gave any stats on our class profile. I didn’t get to eat or drink anything because after her speech, we immediately broke into 4 (or was it 5?) clusters and went to do icebreakers. I recognized one of the adcom that I became friendly with from the December Reception and she asked me where my other friend was. I was shocked that she could remember him by name since there are hundreds of us (and thousands more applicants). Impressive.
9:30-10:45 am: Cluster Welcomes- Introduction to Columbia’s Program on Social Intelligence. This was the introductions and icebreakers part. The 40 people in our group were assigned numbers and then we had to do 1-on-1 introductions. I paired up with a super cool chick formerly from Jersey but who is now a New Yorker. (note that most people here were from the area or at least the East Coast as not everyone, especially internationals, may have wanted to make the trip for the non-mandatory Open House... there's another Open House in April too) She had a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm and we hit it off pretty well. Five minutes later, the two of us had to meet another pair and we were instructed to describe our original partner as a color and as a food (and why). She determined that I was turquoise (ehhh) and bubble tea (spot on!!!) Afterwards, all 40 of us had to introduce our original partners to the entire cluster which made for some nice unintentional comedy. Everyone was a good sport and only a surprisingly tiny amount of people seemed nervous. I shocked myself when I received a round of applause for my mildly humorous food description of my partner. Good start.
11:00 am-12:30 pm: Class Visit. Our clusters then went to sit in on 1 of 3 different classes (not actual classes but ones prepared for this event). I got the least interesting topic of the 3 in my opinion, “Strategy and Competition in Pharma and Biotech”. Would’ve much preferred Bruce Greenwald’s talk about Wal-Mart’s strategy which apparently included a lot of commentary on the current economy.
12:45-2:15 pm: Lunches in Morningside Heights. Next, we broke up from our clusters and were randomly assigned lunch groups of 6. My group was assigned to Havana Central, a local Cuban restaurant/bar. The food was blah but it was nice that CBS picked up the tab. My table was also fortunate to be joined by a Hermes (student welcome society) rep as well as someone from the Financial Aid Office. I kept joking that she should hook us up with extra fin aid but she remained steadfast. I’d say we were done with lunch by 1:30 which is good because at 1:50, everyone started walking back to campus.
2:30-3:30 pm: Intro to the Academic Program. This talk was done in the SIPA building’s auditorium. SIPA is the School of International and Public Affairs (top-notch program) and their building is really sweet, much more modern than Uris. The Vice Dean Amir Ziv explained everything about the Core, electives, exemptions, and all that stuff. I already knew all of this from my obsessive research though. Vice Dean Ziv was a really good (and witty) speaker which is funny because I now realize that he was the same speaker with the heavy accent whom I couldn’t comprehend at the December reception! Oops.
3:45-4:30 pm: Nonprofit Board Leadership Program. We had a short break for soda and coffee and then went back into the auditorium to hear 4 students speak about the nonprofit board. I was surprised that they had everyone attend this because several classmates seemed bored.
4:45-5:45 pm: Keynote Address. We stayed in the auditorium for a final speech by Paolo Scaroni, an alum and current CEO of Eni and a member of the CBS Board of Overseers. He is a realllly funny guy.
6:00-8:00 pm: Reception. Finally, we convened back in Low Memorial Library (site of the first event) to have some adult beverages and mingle some more. The famous Dean Hubbard made an appearance as well! The event was sponsored by Deutsche Bank and we received free DB backpacks. Not gonna lie, I was exhausted by this point. I found it hard to be “on” and continuously network for almost 12 hours straight but I met some more cool people. Good times. Also, I should note that I only had 1 drink because I didn't want my face to get flushed (which it does very easily). I have no problem doing this with my classmates but didn't want to make a tacky impression on the very first meeting :P
After we were kicked out around 8:30 pm, a bunch of admits (maybe 25?) went to The Pourhouse on Amsterdam. It was really crowded at first and I was really tuckered out. I had 2 drinks and then left around 10 pm with my buddy, a fellow admit from DC, who was crashing at my place in Long Island. I am such a good classmate :P
All in all, a really fun and exciting day. My favorite part was meeting all the new classmates and the introductions/icebreakers. I was really happy to see how enthusiastic most people were about CBS. It was obvious that the adcom did a great job of selecting people who actually wanted to attend CBS and weren’t just using it for a backup for another school. The students were also very impressive in their experience- I feel like the least impressive for sure. While a couple were very shy, the vast majority were outgoing and fun. Good stuff. About three admits shocked me by asking me if I was the blogger which is kinda embarrassing. They were all really cool though. I won’t embarrass them by giving them shout-outs hehe.
My buddy had to pick up his luggage from his hotel and we just missed the train back to Long Island so we didn’t get back until midnight. Had some KFC at Penn Station too. Exhausting but well worth it. Little did I know Saturday would be even moreso!
Monday, February 16, 2009
So I'm sure most people on Facebook have probably seen the "25 Random Things About Me" note that keeps popping up. If you haven't, the idea is basically that you enlighten your buddies with 25 random facts about yourself. I thought it might be fun to share some embarrassing info with you guys since MBA news is going slow here (disclosure: I changed 3 of them because they were too private) ... bon appetito:
1. Watching professional wrestling is a guilty pleasure of mine. I've been watching since I was 10 years old.
2. The only non-vegetarian exception that I allow myself is gelatin. My favorite foods are gelatinous (e.g. gummy bears) in texture.
3. I believe it’s economically rational to tip waiters/servers based on their level of service. I don’t hesitate to tip abnormally high or low amounts.
4. I’ve worn a pig necklace around my neck for about 50% of my life.
5. I believe my feet smell more than most people's. Plus I think I have an arthritic toe.
6. I won my 5th grade math bee.
7. I used to love punk music. Now I love country. Go Taylor!!
8. I over-analyze constantly.
9. I’ve tried really hard to overcome my shyness as a child.
10. It really bothers me when other basketball players label me as only a “shooter”.
11. If I could have one dog for a pet, I would have a Yorkie.
12. I’m really conceited about some things and really insecure about others.
13. As a small child, I believed my sister's explanation that lit up buildings on the city's skyline were actually stars that fell and got stuck on buildings.
14. I used to be a pothead.
15. I watch Food Network programming every day.
16. I think Charlotte from Sex and the City is perfect.
17. I don’t know how to swim though people have attempted to teach me on at least 3 separate occasions (including YMCA classes).
18. I despise driving and hope to never do so again in my life.
19. I’m terribly squeamish and faint of heart, to the point where I can only watch movies that fall into the romantic comedy category.
20. I love the adverb “terribly.”
21. I know all the lyrics to all the songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.
22. The thought of a tattoo intrigues me. If I ever get one it will be of a basketball or some “mom” scrawling.
23. My right leg is almost a half inch longer than my left.
24. I firmly believe that Survivor is the most compelling program on TV. I LOVE Survivor!!!
25. I'll give you anything you ask for, as long as it's not something I don't want to give.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
One of my fellow admit buddies backed out due to work and I started hesitating about whether I wanted to attend. I wondered if it'd be a bunch of old alumni with nothing in common and only a couple admits. Plus it was like ten degrees outside. I got there at 7 pm (fashionably late of course) and was pleasantly surprised. There seemed to be about 8 alums and 8 admits, a nice ratio. The organizer said there were about 12 DC area admits so we had a decent turn-out given that some people probably had work or whatever.
The other admits were decently cool. You could tell that some of them needed a little while to warm up but after a drink, everyone was getting along swimmingly. I always think it's odd when I'm one of the most social people in a group because I've always been painfully shy as a child, and even up through some of college. I've been really pushing myself in the last couple years though as I've come to realize the value of an outgoing, friendly disposition. The upside of networking is a good motivator (otherwise how the heck am I gonna get a job in this economy?) I wound up hitting it off with one other admit really well in particular and I now have a potential roommate for the 1st year. We seem like a good match in terms of cleanliness and location preference. The surprising thing is that she brought up the idea within 15 minutes of talking to me but to her credit, we talked like old friends.
Amazingly, myself and 2 others were the last ones to leave... at 11 pm! We overstayed by two and a half hours. Be jealous, Soni! Almost all the admits there will be at the Feb. 20-21 happy hour so I'm sure I'll see them again (if I can recognize them!) Maybe they won't recognize me either cuz I plan on getting a haircut this weekend. I haven't had one since September for my CBS interview haha!
Meanwhile, my Rosetta Stone studying is going nowhere. I haven't touched it in a month. Oi. Can I go on a tangent here and say how much I love Taylor Swift's music? I revisited her first single, "Tim McGraw", the other day and it's just beautiful. I can't believe that was 3 years ago. Also, my favorite tv show, Survivor, is debuting its new season this thursday- I know you're as excited as I am.
Final note: I need to go back to Sydney pronto.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
If things work out well, I'll be going back to Sydney sometime in April for 11 days or so. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll even take a side trip to Melbourne. Keep your fingers crossed. In May, I figure I can use Memorial Day weekend to take a 3 day trip to Montreal or Toronto. In June, I'm going to London for 5 days. In July, I'm going to various parts of China for 3 weeks with the family... we have a place in Beijing but I'm going to convince them to go to Hong Kong since I've never been. The CBS Pre-MBA World Tour website is still in development but many of the destinations don't intrigue me that much... I'd be down for places like Japan, Russia, Turkey, UAE, and some of Latin America but some of the other stuff might be a bit too exotic for me. I am a novice traveler afterall. They've discontinued the Western Europe leg that went through London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, etcetra last year. Maybe I'll tag along for a Russia or Argentina leg though. At least this is my plan. A destination a month to keep me from hating my job hehe.
I wish I could just quit my job. I'd be bored doing nothing so I would try to get a cool pre-MBA internship (even for no pay) or at the worst, work retail at J.Crew or something. Unfortunately, the draw of the paycheck keeps me tied to my go-nowhere, hate-it-all consulting job. I've determined my resignation date to be July 1st... still 5 months away. Sigh.
I haven't thought about post-MBA careers much but I'm certainly leaning towards Trading. Even if the compensation potential doesn't match what it used to be, I still think it's a great fit for me (analytical, competitive, potential for high pay, relatively great hours, market driven, new york location).
Tomorrow evening is the CBS Alumni Club of Washington DC happy hour. It will be real cold, around 15 degrees, but I will be in attendance. I'll have all the dirt here too.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
A great thing came from her visit though. She was staying with a friend and I met this friend's boyfriend who just so happened to be a CBS recruiter from a bulge bracket bank for Sales & Trading! What a coinky dink. I tried to ask him questions about how recruiting was going and stuff like that but he wasn't really interested in talking about it. The expression on his face was fairly bored. Then his face lit up when the topic changed to the pros and cons of Duane Reade versus Walgreen's versus CVS versus Rite Aid! Crazy. It sucks because I feel like I missed a golden opportunity but there was nothing I could've done differently. I wasn't being obsequious or overtly exploitative in any way. He just wasn't that cool (or displaying cool behaviors I guess). Maybe he gets b-school kids asking him about that stuff all the time or whatever the case may be, but he wasn't interested in talking more. My alternative hypothesis (I was a psychology major in undergrad) is that he was kinda put off because I asked him if he chose to do equities trading or not after he mentioned he traded equities. He might've thought I was looking down on equities (which I wasn't) since equities have a reputation of being boring/old/not-as-profitable in the trading world... so maybe he was just feeling defensive and insecure. Oh well, still better to have met him than not met him I guess.
Later that night I met up with an old friend from high school which was great. He's a litigation lawyer living in Brooklyn and he lives a great life. He lives in a cool up and coming neighborhood, Clinton Hill, (from what I could gather) and he had a sweetheart girlfriend and some cool friends too. He had a job he loved and made good money. You could tell he was happy. Funny enough, his girlfriend is the head of marketing for an industry media company (can't say which) which I may potentially be able to call upon for future job leads. Niiice. One note here: I don't go around assessing whether new acquaintances/friends can be valuable in my network or not... it's just coincidence that I met those two people and obviously being the analytical guy that I am, I noticed their outstanding characteristics :)
On sunday I met an ex-coworker who now does Risk Management for a large bank. It was good to see her again and we caught up on everything for 2 hours. We got bubble tea in the East Village. She, like many that I've met, has no idea what kind of job she wants post-MBA. Funny how many of us there are, isn't it?
Lastly, I received invitations to 2 happy hours in the DC area. One is from the CBS Alumni Club of DC and the other is from a CBS student who organized DC happy hours last year and continued this year even though she is now a student and no longer around (how nice of her!) ... unfortunately, they both scheduled the exact date and time at different venues! I informed them so hopefully they'll do a joint one or one will alter their time. It would be sweet to attend both so I can get as much CBS in me as possible.
I got a separate happy hour invite for the Thursday before CBS' Open House in late Feb too. It was for the Milstein Center for Real Estate happy hour and I received it because I indicated real estate as my original interest. I don't want to go but I'm wondering if anyone received a happy hour invite from a different campus group/theme? Maybe the Lang Center for Entrepreneurship or perhaps a Sales & Trading one? That would be awesome and I'd totally go to one of those instead.
If there are any finance/market gurus reading my blog, maybe they'd also like to chime in on this: What do you think are the chances that the Prime Rate (aka Fed Funds Target Rate plus 3) reaches 6.5% (aka Fed Funds Target Rate=3.5%) by the year 2015? I imagine it'll definitely happen but wanted some other opinions. I'm asking because of a potential loan scenario I'm entertaining (no, it's not a student loan).
I'm starting to cringe at the realization that my tuition and living expenses are going to be a tougher burden than I originally anticipated. I'm thinking of cancelling the Morocco trip (still going to San Fran though) and quitting at the end of June. Then I'd take a week or two trip during June with the CBS Pre-MBA World Tour (maybe Russia?) and travel all of July (China, Australia, London). Much less than my original hope of traveling for 2-3 months. I should try to get a better picture of my travel plans this week.
Friday, January 23, 2009
This weekend I'll be back in NY for the umpteenth time, primarily to celebrate Chinese New Year which is technically monday. I'm excited because on saturday, one of my favorite friends of 2008 (from DC) will also be in NY and I'll be showing her around Columbia's campus! It's funny that I'm doing that considering I'm not a student yet nor do I know the names of the buildings and history but I do know where to get bubble tea (Lerner Center). She's applied to a couple MBA programs (mostly for sustainabilty/social enterprise) for Fall 2009 and she's really interested in CBS, however, she lacks the motivation to start her app because she doesn't believe she has a good shot which is silly. She's actually quite talented and I think she stands an excellent shot so our tour tomorrow will be my marketing tool to galvanize her app. I'm debating whether to show her the horrific conditions of Levien and University Blue Gymnasiums though... she's a gym nut and I don't want to make her cry.
I'll also be meeting up with several friends and also an ex-coworker who I just learned will be a classmate too. Fun times. Oh, and I also started leveraging the network! As a techy consultant, I'm supposed to work on projects for different clients. Unfortunatley (or fortunately should I say), I haven't been assigned to any projects recently so I've just been sufing the web. I was starting to become paranoid that I'd incur my managers' wrath so I asked a different future classmate/current co-worker if he knew of any projects that I could work on... and it turns out he does! On tuesday, I begin working for him (haha, he will be my direct project manager) on designing an internal portal/website... it doesn't sound exciting but I think it'll be good for me because there'll be some intellectual engagement to it (e.g. how do we market the site and encourage greater user participation?) and I'll meet a host of team members from all other parts of our humongous company. That's the good stuff, baby!
Travel plans aren't looking great. Greece is out but Morocco is in (but not until March 6th I think). I'm excited for San Fran cuz one of my fav cousins apparently lives there plus a couple friends, but I can't book that for a while. I am also registered for a 1 day retreat with my undergrad alma mater in late February that will allow for relaxation in some rustic-looking part of Maryland. I really need to look at CBS' pre-MBA World Tour destinations too.
Lastly, I am re-upping my efforts at the gym. I never benchpressed until a couple months ago but my goal is to bench my body weight before the summer. Also, I'm doing a jumping program to work out my legs... the goal is to dunk (a guy can dream can't he?) by end of April. I even had a dream about it last night (seriously). My CBS classmates will thank me for this once the Cluster Cup basketball and volleyball competitions start!
Friday, January 16, 2009
This begs the question. Is the MBA worth it? I've adamantly resolved that the MBA is the next phase of my life no matter what. I'm going to do this regardless of the job situation. But if I take off my blinders for a second, I can't help but wonder if the $175,000 (my personal calculation for CBS) for 2 years is worth it if it won't yield my dream job. Granted I don't know what my dream job is but I want to be able to get it once I determine that obviously. Yes, the experience and education and personal development and network will be worth it. But if internship recruiting is so dire now, how will it be in the fall when I start myself? Probably not much better. A lot of analyts expect the economy to start rebounding around Quarter 3 of 2009 but that might be a bit too optimistic. I always told myself that we'll be recovering (at the very least) by graduation in May 2011 but the reality is that I need to prepare much sooner. In fact, I believe Columbia recruiting events start within weeks of getting on campus aka September 2009! Ay carumba.
Perhaps there's a silver lining. Maybe the lack of a super attractive full-time job option will force me to dive into my entrepreneurial idea head-first. That's a good thing. But I originally wanted to ease into that venture while I worked a normal corporate job, preferrably as a trader at a big bank (so I think currently). I realize that no trading jobs are out there right now. I believe I have a decent shot of getting one of the few ones that pop up by graduation since I have experience as a trading assistant but I feel like I need the internship too. Ugh, maybe I should stop stressing.
In other words, I have submitted my Kroll application and it's MUCH simpler than originally anticipated. It's different for each school (I believe they can customize what info to check) but Columbia asks for the bare bones. CBS' Kroll app asked for my current job, recommender info, undergrad info, and biographic info. It did NOT ask me about extra curriculars or past jobs or anything I wrote in essays. This should be a relief to some. I did not get an official "passed" yet but I fully expect to receive one.
On another note, I received a voicemail from Linda Meehan, the Director of CBS MBA Admissions, this week congratulating me on my admit. I'm kinda sad it took her this long to get to me considering I was probably one of the first 10 apps in their pile this season but it's cool. I'm sadder that I didn't get to pick up the call myself. Oh, and other sad news: my trip to Greece is off though I will probably still go to Morocco. San Fran is coming up in the next month or two too.
Alright, I'm going to run to the gym so I can dunk on some freshmen. And by "dunk", I mean shoot mid-range jumpers. I'm meeting 2 of my future classmates (whom I've already met a couple times) in the DC area for dinner afterwards. Tex-mex or pub grub?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I have several resolutions for the new year (a dozen actually) but I won't bore you with all of them. After all, half of them pertain to how I can dominate better at pick-up basketball and my gym routine. The other half is about personal development and I guess, more important (arguably). No need to share them all but I do want to read more. I have never been an avid reader (or any kind of reader) before a couple months ago. Then I read "Ahead of the Curve" and enjoyed it thoroughly. Today, I read "Who Moved My Cheese?" (really cute and good-for-you kind of read, I do recommend it). One of my favorite new friends of 2008 got me an unexpected holiday present too: a book. Who'd have thunk it? It's Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" and it's a really good read thus far. I've gone through half of it in only 2 days, an unprecedented pace for me. I found it so intriguing that I stopped by the bookstore earlier today and read the intro to his other popular book, "Tipping Point", and enjoyed it too. Good stuff. The best part of it is that the books have a motivational message. We can all be entrepreneurs and set our own courses, create our own fortunes. We are fortunate in that we can do whatever we want. We're lucky.
With that sense of optimism, I have come to a new revelation in my b-school potential careers journey. I'm thinking I could be an entrepreneur and start my own business. It's not earth-shattering and it's not a new invention and it's not terribly innovative or important. It's merely a very small-scale business idea but it tickles my fancies. I get excited about it. I'm not going to sound like a fool and attempt to describe my idea but it does give me some direction. During my MBA, I can focus on entrepreneurship and learn about managing my supply chain, attracting investors, managing personnel, and marketing and all that good stuff. After all, I've always thought that entrepreneurs gained the most from MBA curriculums. Maybe I could even take advantage of Columbia's Entrepreneurial Greenhouse (doubtful tho cuz my idea isn't that kind of thang). But it's something to pursue that would let me enjoy my life. I'm thinking that I could also study finance and try to go into Sales & Trading post-MBA while I simultaneously cultivated my business idea at night. The good thing about trading is that you primarly work market hours and thus have your nights free. Trading is also incredibly interesting to me (and I actually have the experience to get a full-time job when the economy rebounds by 2011, fingers crossed). In fact, I really like trading as a job/career option except for it's lack of exit options. And that's where the entrepreneurial venture comes in. Maybe my business can be established by the time I want to (or need to) exit trading and I can just do that full-time. Love it.
So new directions and new ideas are exciting to me. I have other resolutions too but they're not particularly interesting. For instance, I want to eat more fruit and less junk, I want to be more outgoing and make an effort to make more new friends, etc. But I gotta say that this reading thing is awesome. Makes me feel like more of a person. Plus it gets me thinking, a fun pasttime despite what Gaston and Lefou might try to say (free Sloan or Yale SOM pen for anyone who knows where that reference is from).
I know resolutions sound dorky but I only make realistic ones and I enjoy the ones I've made. In fact, I think my next resolution should be to actually write my first business plan (dun dun dun). My idea may suck but the possibility of success is there. Then I wouldn't have to live a corporate lifestyle (something which I hem and haw over at times) and could live the rest of my life in the East Village happily ever after :)